Friday, March 27, 2009

Stat of the Day: Black Vote in Presidential Elections

I was thinking about how everyone complained during the election that blacks were being racist by voting for Obama. I decided to look at the previous Democratic nominees, who, surprise, surprise, were white, and see how their share of the black vote compared. What I found was that Obama did perform better than them, but not by much. Democrat's also managed to win more than half of the Latino vote in the past three presidential elections, with Obama gaining a higer percentage than either Gore of Kerry.


So, based on this, I have to conclude that African Americans, and to a lesser extend Latinos, just like voting for Democrats. Did the race of the candidate play a factor in the past election? Likely it did for many voters, but there were so many other factors (the quality of campaigning, the state of the economy, and the approval rating of the sitting president, among them) that to call minorities who voted for Obama racism would be inappropriate.

It could also be pointed out that McCain won 55% of the white vote. I wouldn't call all whites who voted for McCain racist.


Denis Navratil said...

Kevin, the videos were excellent and I am not surprised in the least that this type of nonsense is happening on campus. Do you favor this type of indoctrination or any type of indoctrination?

Kevin Lockett said...

I think that comment was meant for the other post.

But since you brought it up, as a teacher, I don't agree with telling people what to think. I also don't agree with forcing people to share intimate personal details with complete strangers. According to the video, both of those things were happening and, assuming those were accurate accounts, they represent real and serious flaws in the residential life orientation program.

I guess one thing that would be good for me to do is to post an article that discusses what white privilege is. One of the things that stood out to me from the video was that people seem to conflate the concept of white privilege with the idea that all white people are racist.

I was also irritated by the call for colorblindness. The sentiment that seemed to be coming from two of the students interviewed was that by talking about race made the problem worse, and that we'd be better off not talking about it at all. Speaking from experience, when you have a bunch of people from different backgrounds (racially, culturally, geographically, etc.) coming together in a dorm, it's important to be able to discuss these issues openly. It seemed to me that this was one of the overarching goals of the program. It also seemed like it was trying to open the eyes of students in privileged groups (whites, males, heterosexuals) to some of the ways that their new neighbors may feel. Did the program do the best job at this? From what I take away from the video, no. Still, I thing the larger goal was appropriate. I don't think talking about race or gender or sexuality is a great threat to college campuses, like it was portrayed in the video.

Finally, living in Philly, this story got some press a while ago, and it was portrayed somewhat differently. For that reason, I take these videos with a grain of salt. Of course, I don't hold the local media in too high regard, so I wouldn't be surprised if they left out a few details that wouldn't fit into their "fast-food" style broadcast.